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Talking about KiwiSaver with your staff

There's plenty you can tell your staff about KiwiSaver, and now the Financial Markets Authority has resources that can help answer questions in more detail.

Building KiwiSaver confidence

Many people feel they don’t understand or know enough about KiwiSaver, so they ask others – including their employers – to talk them through it.

There’s lots of general information you can give them about KiwiSaver, but there are some rules around what you can and can’t say.

You can safely tell your employees what KiwiSaver is, what the features of a particular KiwiSaver scheme are if you have a preferred relationship, and information about what your staff member needs to do to sign up.

But making an outright recommendation or giving an opinion about a financial product is considered financial advice – which only financial advisors are allowed to do.

If your employees want more detailed personal help, the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has KiwiSaver tools that provide information about how KiwiSaver works and guide them to their next steps.

“We know people really value having someone to talk to about their KiwiSaver settings,” says Simone Robbers, Acting Director or External Communications and Investor Capability at the FMA.

“Employers are in the perfect position to help steer their staff onto tools like the FMA Health Checker to make sure they’re set up right in the first place.”

Investor information about KiwiSaver (external link) — Financial Markets Authority

If you have an employer-chosen KiwiSaver scheme you have to advise new employees in writing that they'll be allocated to this scheme unless they choose their own.

If you have an employer-chosen KiwiSaver scheme you have to advise new employees in writing that they'll be allocated to this scheme unless they choose their own.

You'll also need to give them your scheme's product disclosure statement.

Resources to help

The FMA’s KiwiSaver Health Checker explains the four most important things to consider when first setting up a KiwiSaver account: funds, contributions, tax and fees. It’s an easy tool to recommend to your employees and takes three minutes to complete.

The KiwiSaver Risk Quiz helps KiwiSaver members understand why their KiwiSaver balance goes up and down, and to know what to do if the value of their investment markets becomes volatile or falls.

Of course, you can use these resources for yourself, too.

KiwiSaver Health Checker (external link) — Financial Markets Authority

KiwiSaver Risk Quiz (external link) — Financial Markets Authority

Finding the right fund


The FMA and the Commission for Financial Capability did some financial modelling to find out the difference it can make if you get your KiwiSaver settings right from the start.

An employee earning an average of $60,000 over a career of 47 years (from age 18 to 65) could lift their results from $215,000 to $677,000 if they:

  • choose a growth fund rather than sticking in the default conservative fund
  • lift their contributions from 3% to 8%
  • make sure they’re on the correct PIR tax rate. The PIR (prescribed investor rate) is the rate of tax paid on the money your KiwiSaver investments earn - either 10.5%, 17.5%, or 28% - if it’s wrong you could be paying too much.
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